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US: Chicago teens stage 'die-in' to demand action on climate change; one man arrested

10:22 09 October 2019 Author :  
Protesters march through the streets to demand action on climate change in Chicago, Illinois on Oct. 7, 2019.

CHICAGO — (US TODAY) About 200 protesters marched through downtown Chicago Monday evening to demand lawmakers declare a climate emergency.

The group initially rallied at a main downtown plaza across from City Hall, where they hosted speakers and cheered on a simultaneous student protest.

Meanwhile, around two dozen Chicago-area teens dressed in all black gathered across from Trump International Hotel and marched to City Hall, where they staged an 11-minute "die-in."

During the demonstration, the teens laid on the ground in silence, many with their palms facing up, revealing phrases such as "climate emergency" written in red paint.

"We did this for 11 minutes to symbolize the 11 years we have left before the adverse effects of climate change become unavoidable," said Isabella Johnson, 17, State Lead for advocacy group Illinois Youth Climate Strike.

Johnson was referring to a 2018 report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that stated we only have 12 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change.

Organizers initially said 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg would be present at the protest, but she was not in attendance.

Johnson said she and her peers want lawmakers to officially declare a climate emergency and pass Illinois's Clean Energy Jobs Acts, which would aim to put Illinois on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

"We feel that Chicago, as one of the largest cities in the United States, has a big say in what happens [on climate change]," Johnson said. "We're going to keep fighting until we get what we want — which is climate justice."

Once the students finished their "die-in," other protesters, many with the group Extinction Rebellion, began winding the streets of downtown Chicago with no apparent plan, causing traffic pile-ups.

The group chanted, beat drums, and held signs. At one point, protesters projected Extinction Rebellion's logo onto the sides of buildings.

One man was arrested during the four-hour protest march, but he appeared to have rejoined the group by the time it dispersed Monday night.

The group said another protest was planned for Oct. 18.

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